The Things I Haven't Done

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The Things I Haven't Done

Postby Jeff » 2008.05.13 4:55 am

I’ve never been in a car accident. Well, I never got into a serious car accident. I rear-ended a pickup truck on an off-ramp about a year ago. I slammed on my brakes when I saw he was stopped, and it was really very minor; the claims adjuster later told me I couldn’t have been going more than five miles per hour when we hit. There was no damage to my car, and the bumper on the truck was only slightly misaligned. However, none of this stopped the guy in the truck from claiming that he hurt his neck. I worried for weeks about what would happen, but the insurance company handled everything. I don’t mind paying their bill so much anymore.

I haven’t learned a foreign language. I had four years of high school Spanish, and I can only seem to remember any of it when I’m drunk, giving it little utility as a life skill. I loved that class, though. We’d watch Disney DVDs with the Spanish subtitles on, eat snacks and play UNO. It was one of the few things I actually liked about my high school experience.

I’ve still never left the country. I haven’t even been to Canada, and they’re pretty close. In fact, the only time I’ve been on an airplane was when I went to Disney World when I was five. I’m sure it’s a much different experience now than I remember; in 1989 you didn’t have to take off your shoes to board a plane.

I didn’t really get drunk before I turned 21. That is, I never went to drinking parties in high school or even house parties in my first few years of college. I’d have a drink at family gatherings or bring a few beers to a friend’s bonfire, but I never really got drunk. Some things really change.

I’ve never gotten a tattoo or a piercing, and probably never will. For a few weeks in eighth grade I wore a magnetic earring that I thought was pretty cool, and that’s about as close as I ever got. My cardiologist is very much against body modification; concerned that bacterial endocarditis could damage the donor valve in my heart. I wanted a tattoo for a long time after my grandfather died, something to commemorate him. I’ve since decided to settle for the nine-inch surgical scar on my chest; it’s pretty unique, and it’s something we shared.

I never got over my grandfather’s death. Most of the time when I write, he’s my focus. I spent my whole life emulating him when he was alive, and I haven’t stopped, five years after his death. I hope that the things that I do make him proud. I wonder what he’d think of the way I turned out, if he’d like my wife. I worry about my father’s health now a lot more than I used to.

I never followed through with learning to play guitar. I know some chords, and if I take about ten minutes to warm up I can play the slow part of Free Bird pretty smoothly, but there are just some ways that my fingers seem to refuse to bend, and I can barely keep a good strumming rhythm; forget about picking notes out. Regardless, I have an acoustic guitar on a stand in my living room, and I feel kind of melancholy every time I dust it.
I do what I can.

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